Inflation is heating up this summer as Americans face a record high Consumer Price Index (CPI). Consumers are feeling the burn at the pump, not to mention the dinner table, as inflation balloons to over 9% -- the highest it has been in 40 years. With talks of recession becoming reality, what does the Fed plan to do to cool down inflation this summer?
Anticipating The Next Interest Rate Hike
The Federal Reserve is expected to announce its next interest rate hike on Wednesday at its Federal Market Open Committee Meeting. This comes as June's CPI results are higher than anticipated at 9.1% -- although this number may not be representative of everyday consumer spending, given the fact that gasoline is at over 50%, and many staple groceries, like ground beef and milk, are pushing 15% higher than previous years.
That leaves many wondering if the real inflation number is much higher than it is on paper. Nevertheless, inflation is increasing, and that leaves the Federal Reserve with no choice but to raise interest rates.
This will be the second rate hike since June, when Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announced a 0.75 basis points hike. The three-quarters rate hike was the highest since 1994. That is in addition to the 0.50 point hike in May of 2022, making it three so far this year.
As for the next interest rate hike, it is believed by economists and market analysts that it will be at 0.75 basis points, the same as June's. We will have to wait in anticipation to see what effect this will have on not only the bearish stock market, but on the economy as a whole.
The Economic Fallout of Rate Hikes
Rate hikes are certainly nothing new. And, in order to predict the future, we must turn to the past.
Traditionally during an inflationary period, the Fed will raise interest rates in order to help cool an overheated economy. This was the case in the early 1980's when Paul Volker, Fed Chairman at the time, raised rates by an astonishing 20%.
Now, this is not something done lightly, nor does it come without potential consequences.
Raising the interest rates by any given amount will inevitably succumb to Newton's third law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
This means as we see the basis points rise, we will see increases in the amount of interest consumers have to pay for home loans, auto loans, and business loans. The tradeoff being, that people will spend less, thereby giving the overall economy a chance to simmer down and get back on course.
It is not a panacea to all of the economic turmoil we are facing, but may offer just enough of a reprieve for Americans who are getting burned in the current economic heat.
It will be important to see how the stock market reacts to this, as consumer confidence is low. The question remains, if consumers have more money in their wallets, will they be confident enough to go out and start pumping money back into the economy this summer, or will they be hesitant? Possibly. Until then, we will have to endure the heat.
Another Fed interest rate hike is coming: How high will it go?